A million new customers have signed up for health insurance during the Affordable Care Act’s third open-enrollment season, Obama administration officials said on Wednesday, and call centers have been deluged with requests from others eager to enroll.
The officials brushed aside reports of rising premiums and deductibles and concerns expressed by UnitedHealth Group and other insurers that say they are losing money in the new online insurance marketplaces, or exchanges.
“We are now seeing a surge of interest as we get closer to the deadline,” said Andrew M. Slavitt, the acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which runs the federal marketplace. “Each day has been bigger than the day before.”
Consumers need to sign up by Tuesday to ensure coverage that takes effect on Jan. 1. The open enrollment period runs through Jan. 31; those signing up by Jan. 15 will be enrolled on Feb, 1; those signing up by Jan. 31 will be enrolled on March 1. People who go without insurance next year may be subject to tax penalties of $695 a person or more, although some may be able to qualify for hardship exemptions.
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Jeffrey R. Ungvary President